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There are so many 18 inch doll products around that sometimes it is very hard to choose!  We have collected together as many resources as we can find, as well as created lots of tips and tricks, to assist you in your hunt for the perfect 18 inch doll product.
Doll Care 101

Do’s and Don’ts for American Girl Doll Care

***There's a new tip from customer Julia Rice - scroll down the page.

The decision is made: you’re going to splurge out on an American Girl© Doll for your dear daughter.  After all, what Mom can resist?  Unfortunately this is only the start – once she sees all the fabulous outfits and accessories that are available, your money tends to fly out the window.  Fortunately there is good news - you have just chosen an ideal way to teach your child about personal responsibility, and she is at the ideal age to learn. 

Therefore the following tips will help teach your daughter how to care for her American Girl© Doll.  You could even print this list and post it somewhere in your daughter's room.  Or go one step further and use a method of encouragement like giving her stickers or awards when you notice she is taking care to follow these guidelines.


  • Wash first.  If you wash your hands before playing with your American Girl© Doll she will be kept clean for longer.   Not even your doll likes peanut butter and jelly in their hair!
  • Try to keep your doll out of the direct sunlight.  If she’s in the sun, all of your doll’s coloring will start to fade, including all her clothes.
  • Brush your doll's hair regularly.  Try to do this every night.  Frequent brushing with a wire doll brush helps get out tangles and frizz.  If her hair does get tangled, put a little water on the brush to smooth it out.  Leave in conditioner also works well.
  • Use baking soda to clean your doll's face.  If your doll's face gets dirty or marked, put a little baking soda on a damp washcloth and then gently wash her face.  No need to dry it let it air dry afterwards.
  • Vacuum your doll's cloth body.  Keep your doll's cloth body clean and free of dirt and dust with a little help from your Mom and a vacuum.  Carefully rub cornstarch in to the cloth, leave her overnight, and then vacuum it away the next day.


  • Eat or drink while playing with your doll.  You can have a tea party for your doll (use water for the tea), but you should not eat or drink.  Remember that juice stains or sticky jelly may ruin her.
  • Keep your doll in a plastic bag or box.  Always put your doll away when you aren't playing with her, but never seal her in a plastic box or tub.  Even if there is the smallest bit of water or moisture in the tub she may get mildew or mold.
  • Curl or blow-dry your doll's hair.  Any heat applied to your doll’s hair always spells disaster.  Instead style it with a brush and a little water.
  • Try and scrub any ink marks from your doll's arms or legs.  If ink accidentally gets on her while she is helping you with your homework, don't try to scratch or scrub it away.  Have your Mom help you put it right.  The doll’s entire body needs to be covered except for the part with the ink, then rub some vegetable oil into the stain and leave her to dry.  After a few times doing this the stain should disappear.
  • Put doll clothes in the washer or dryer.  Hand wash doll clothes only in very mild soapy water and air dry them.  If the outfit is special and you are in doubt send the clothes to the dry cleaners.

By following these simple rules your daughter should be able to pass on her American Girl© Doll to her daughter when it is her time.  Now that's a return on investment!

For American Girl© Doll storage trunks and other useful accessories visit Emily Rose - Doll Clothes & Accessories

These tips are not official American Girl© tips, or endorsed by Mattel or Pleasant Company.

Send us an email to submit  your tips here for other girl's and parents*...

"I use Neutrogena Leave-in conditioner on my American Girl's hair to get rid of the frizz.  I just spread a tiny bit on my hand and smooth it through her hair about once a month.  It keeps it really pretty"   Lisa - Age 8.

"I got crayon on my doll's face by accident and my Mom found out you can just use baking soda on a washcloth to clean it off.  Now I wash my doll's face with baking soda when I remember"   Karen - Age 7.

We just had the dreadful experience of having my daughter's face drawn on with ball point pen by her baby sister. I relentlessly searched the internet for solutions and finally found several recommendations for benzyl peroxide 10% (acne cream.) You apply to doll's face and leave doll directly under a light for anywhere between a few hours to days. Many said it took several applications. I was skeptical, but after 24 hours and a few applications, it worked! She now has a beautifully clean complexion!

Unfortunately she's still missing eyelashes from the alcohol I initially used to try to clean off the pen. - Julia Rice

*We are required to say... these tips are not tested or endorsed by Emily Rose or Mattel and we hold no reponsibility for the effectiveness, or lack thereof.

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American Girl ® Doll Repairs
Do you have a repair issue or problem with your American Girl ® doll?  We have collected together some resources for doll hospitals and American Girl ® doll repair. more info
American Girl ® Doll Lessons

I haven't yet met a girl in the 8-12 year old age bracket who doesn't salivate at the sight of blue spotted boxes.  My own eight year-old practically burst into tears of excitement ater receiving the American Girl© "Marisol" as a surprise gift from a family friend. As Mother's of these doll-loving daughters we are torn.  Every time we see the pile of doll shoes, or the plastic tubs filled with the clothes that won't fit in to the $200 doll trunk, or the American Girl© shampoo on the shower shelf, we struggle with a love/hate relationship.  Here's list of love/hate reasons. 

The Love List

  • American Girl© dolls are gorgeous! These dolls are gorgeous.  I remember the first time I saw an American Girl© doll.  I was a Nanny for a wealthy family in the Hamptons.  We visited another family whose two young daughters’ brought out their very treasured, very well looked-after dolls.  I was a 20 year-old college student at the time yet I spent the remainder of that afternoon ignoring my charges.  Who could resist the steamer trunk with little drawers, coat hangers and hat boxes?  Who could resist the hairstyle potential given the tiny box of styling accessories?  Who could resist the outfits? 
  • American Girl© dolls have an educational aspect. Supposedly.  Prior to the introduction of the "Just Like You" doll every doll was created with an associated historical period.  Theoretically this encourages our dear daughters to learn about history through a historical book series and historically accurate clothing and accessories.  Not.  My daughter who is a voracious reader, she can do a book a night if I forget to tell her "lights out" time, declared the books "boring" after reading two.  The historically accurate accessories? Nope, not too interested in those either.
  • American Girl© dolls encourage imaginary play. We have all read the articles.  There is a proven and direct correlation between dramatic play and success in school and social development. What better to encourage imaginary play than a gorgeous doll and a ton of accessories?  I have to agree with this one. 

The Hate List:

  • American Girl© stuff is expensive! Who can keep up?  A single doll - made in China for $5 I would imagine - costs a staggering $85.  Then it starts.  You can't just have a doll.  You have to have a trunk with little drawers, coat hangers and hat boxes (see The Love List reason #1).
  • American Girl© is a huge contributor to one of the most negative values we are instilling in our children today. Conspicuous consumption.  Back in 1990 when I saw my first American Girl doll those very wealthy children had one doll each.  They knew this doll was special and that they were lucky to have one.  Today my daughter's best friend has six.  Six!  They aren't special when you have six.  Have you ever been to the American Girl store?  My extremely practical and frugal Scottish Mother-in-law got physical ill on our visit to the New York store.  She watched all the little girls storming through the departments and leaving with armloads of red shiny bags and literally had to go outside and get some air.  Is it not terrifying that American Girl© offers a $600 Ritz-Carlton package for a visit to the New York store and parents actually purchase it?

So what is a Mommy to do?  Buy them of course.  They are gorgeous (see The Love List reason #1). Yes they are expensive and yes they encourage questionable values in others, but it doesn't mean the products need to encourage questionable values in your daughter.  I decided long ago that I had lost the fight so I decided to use the dolls as a teaching tool.

The Lesson List:

  • There is such a thing as too much of a good thing! - We taught my daughter that these dolls are special.  We told her how much they cost and translated in to terms she could understand.  Yes - for teh price of one doll you could actually buy 150 chocolate bars and eat a bar of chocolate every day for 5 months!  She knows that she appreciates her dolls much more than her friend who has six.
  • Saving Rocks! - She pined for the doll bed with the attached closet and vanity.  I told her I wouldn't buy it for her.  Evil maybe but I couldn't see spending $160 on a lump of wood and a few stickers.  She saved for it, and I mean really saved.  It took her two Holidays and lots of allowance money but she got it in the end - and couldn't wait to start saving for her next purchase.
  • Beware the power of marketing and branding! - Once she got the saving thing down I took her to the web and showed her how much further her money would go if she weren't blinded by the power of brand.  We actually even had conversations initiated by her as to whether advertising was fair. She gets it, and has become a great bargain hunter for non-branded products to fit her American Girl©.  She is after all working within a very limited budget.

Let's face it.  You love the dolls, you can't escape them.  Make them work for you.

For affordable clothes, shoes, furniture, jewelry and some really cool accessories to fit your American Girl© you can visit Emily Rose - Doll's Clothes & Accessories

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